Escudero urges immediate appointment of Philippine ambassador to China
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Wednesday called for the immediate appointment of a qualified Philippine ambassador to China in light of worsening tension in the Panatag Shoal (internationally called Scarborough Shoal).
“We badly need a new ambassador. We are already at a lost at what do in dealing and conveying our complaint to China,” Escudero said.
When asked if he has someone in mind for the position, Escudero said he had none.
Nevertheless, the senator echoed Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario’s suggestion that whoever is appointed as ambassador to China the person should be a career official and not purely a political appointee.
“The problems we are facing about China are serious and complicated. These will not only be political issues but also economic issues. It is only but right that an expert and a seasoned expert be appointed as our ambassador to China,” Escudero said.
The statement came days after President Benigno Aquino III warned other Asian countries of Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Escudero said that Aquino’s statement won’t aggravate tension between China and the Philippines, for this is simply a “fair warning” to other neighboring Asian countries.
“[This is a] fair warning to show that this is not just our problem but a problem of other countries in the region because they might find themselves in the same situation that the Philippines had been,” Escudero said.
He also lauded Aquino for fighting for the Philippines and our territory.
“President Aquino should not keep silent and make it seem that we are underdogs. I think it is right that President Aquino fight and show that he is fighting for the rights and sovereignty of our country,” the senator said.
He added that reactions regarding the ongoing tension with China must be limited only to the Department of Foreign Affairs and that statement must be carefully made so as not to exacerbate the situation.
The post of ambassador to China has been vacant since the retirement of ambassador Francisco Benedicto over a year ago. President Aquino’s nominee for the post, Domingo Lee, has failed many times to get the approval of the Commission on Appointments due to his alleged incompetence for the position. Last month, the CA deferred, for the third time, Lee’s confirmation after he failed to answer questions regarding the Spratly dispute.